Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

I'm pretty inconsistent with making New Year's resolutions from year to year. Some years I make them, some years I don't. It all depends on what's going on in my life when the new year rolls around. This year I brainstormed for a month, and now I'm ready to declare some resolutions. They are:

Lower my cholesterol naturally. Yep. I have high cholesterol. "Very high" according to my doctor. It's kind of embarrassing, actually. Oh, look at me! I'm unhealthy! So, gotta fix that. And I don't want to do it with medication. I'll be going back into the doc's office for a blood test in March.

Weigh less at the end of the year than I did at the beginning of the year. This is not "going on a diet" or "trying to lose weight," but making lifestyle changes that make me all-around healthier (which should result in a little weight loss). I don't want a "quick fix" because they never last. I don't want to start any eating habits or exercise habits that I won't keep up with.

Run a mile. I have never run a mile in my life! My body is not made for running. A mile is small for many people, but a mile is HUGE for me. I wanted to run a mile before my 27th birthday (for a birthday present to myself), and I went to the gym every morning for four months and did couch to 5K training on the treadmill. FOUR MONTHS!!! And the most I could run was 3/4 of a mile, and it hurt so much. I never made it to the mile. So maybe for my 30th birthday I will finally run a mile.

Get together with my high school friends. This one is already on the roll. We're getting together tomorrow night. CHECK MARK.

Have Christmas money all saved up by Halloween and most Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving. I finally admitted last year that I hate Christmas shopping. Part of the reason I hate it is because there's not enough money. I have a mile-long list of people I'm supposed to buy gifts for, and I get really stressed out because there's not enough money to buy them something they would like. Then I get told I have to buy gifts for so and so and such and such and that I'm supposed to spend $20 per person, and all those people want are gift cards and UGH!!! I just want to give Christmas a swift kick in the behind! So this year, I'm getting as much shopping done as possible before it's acceptable to put my tree up so I can just sit back and enjoy Christmas for what it's supposed to be.

No new clothes or shoes in 2013. I totally ripped this resolution off of Mel. I have a few exceptions:

  • I can buy a swimming suit (because the one I own is five years old and will completely fall apart at the crotch any minute now)
  • I can buy underwear
  • Should I suddenly drop a significant amount of weight and become desperate for clothes that fit, this resolution is void (not likely to happen, but it's always good to be prepared)
No pop. Or soda. Or whatever you want to call it. I quit drinking pop last year, and I intend to keep up on it. Of course, there are a few exceptions, like if root beer floats are served at a party. But for the most part, my goal is to remain soda-free.

And there you have it: the unimpressive list of my New Year's resolutions. I have a few more I'm working on that I won't post here because they are either A) more embarrassing than having high cholesterol and not being able to run a mile or B) personal.

How are your resolutions going?


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Disneyland and Age

I got the e-mail - the one asking what age I think is good to take kids to Disneyland. I responded to said e-mail, and then I decided to do a blog post about it.

The truth is, it depends on the parents, the children, and a million other factors.

I never intended to take my kids to Disneyland until they were all old enough (i.e. big enough and willing enough) to ride all of the rides. Then for Nicky's first Christmas, my mom surprised us by taking us on a trip... to Disneyland.

We were pleasantly surprised at how smoothly things went with an eleven-month old at Disneyland. We ended up taking Nicky to Disneyland twice the following year. Then, when Scotty's family invited us to go to California a mere FIVE WEEKS after Daisy was born, we thought, why not?

So I guess you could say that my answer to the question is five weeks.

Not really.

But kind of.

Scotty and I are pretty easy-going. We don't disagree very often, and we don't get angry with each other after being cooped up in a car for 12 hours. We can easily go to Disneyland for five days straight and not argue once (and I'm not fibbing to make us look good on the Internet - that is the absolute truth). We both enjoy being with our family, and we both LOVE Disneyland, so there are a lot of personality traits that make us a good fit for frequent Disneyland vacations with young children.

So I can't give a definitive answer, but I can tell you a few things that might help you decide:

Thing 1: There is a lot to do at Disneyland, even with a baby. If there is not a height requirement on a ride, you can take your baby on it. There are a couple of rides that require your baby to be able to sit in his own seat (i.e. Roger Rabbit in Toon Town and the Golden Zephyr in California Adventure) so younger babies may not be able to ride, but most rides only require that your baby faces forward on your lap so his legs can be under the bar.

Thing 2: Disneyland is stroller friendly. There is stroller parking all over the place so you can easily abandon your stroller for hours at a time. Occasionally the employees, oh! Excuse me! "Cast members" will rearrange the strollers to keep order, but other than that, it is rare for your stroller to be disturbed. Just don't leave anything valuable in it and don't padlock it to a fence like my weird brother-in-law (they will cut the lock). Rental strollers are available, if needed, but we always take our own because we need it to haul the kids to and from the hotel, and that can't be done with a stroller that needs to be left at Disneyland.

Thing 3: Disneyland is bag friendly. You can take purses, backpacks, gigantic fanny packs, or whatever you like to carry your stuff in on the rides. If you can't hold the bag on the ride, there is usually a place to put them for safekeeping, such as a pouch on the ride or a place off to the side of the ride where it will remain visible. There are also lockers, if needed. I usually take a small cross-body bag to keep my camera, cell phone, and baby necessities in.

California 2013 

We park our stroller for long periods of time, so I just make sure we have a bottle, a diaper, and a binky with us. Oh! And a few snacks for the older kids.

Thing 4: You can take in your own food. I will forever praise Disneyland for this! I hope it never changes! We usually pack sandwiches, bottled water, fruit, granola bars, and a million other snacks in our stroller so we don't have to buy food at Disneyland. We still grab a churro or two, of course, but we bring in most of our meals. Apparently my brother-in-law, the one with the padlock, got in trouble for making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Disneyland. I have no idea why, but he was told that he could bring in "already made" sandwiches but couldn't bring peanut butter, jelly, and bread to make them there. So... just a heads up. Make your sandwiches before you go to Disneyland.

Thing 5: Disneyland has Rider Switch Passes. So if you have to stay off a ride with a child who can't ride, go to the "cast member" at the entrance of the ride with your party and ask for a Rider Switch Pass. The rest of your party can ride, as usual, while you wait. Then later you can take one member of your party with you to the front(ish) of the line to ride (most rides allow you to enter through the Fast Pass* line). 

Really, the only reasons not to go at any age lie within your own family. If you typically want to strangle your spouse while you're on vacation, or if one of you is expected to carry a greater work load with the children, maybe taking young children isn't the best idea. Go when the kids are older and can fend for themselves a little bit. Disneyland definitely takes cooperation and tag-teaming with little kids. 

I'm going to do a follow-up post to this one soon with some additional information about how we travel, like, how we handle the car ride and a few tips and tricks we've picked up. We are not "travel experts," (don't ask me how to book a trip to Europe!) but we might be "travel to Disneyland by car experts." So if you have any questions or anything you want my "expert" (ha!) opinion on, let me know, and I'll try to work it into that post.

Update: That post is now written. You can find it here.

*I am being close-minded and assuming you all know what Fast Passes are and how to use them. If you need to know more details about Fast Passes, let me know. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vacationed

Guess who just got back from the Happiest Place on Earth?

(It's just me)

I won't bore you with all the details, but if you have access to my private blog, you can read more there.

Mostly, I am just happy we got to go! We had a nasty run-in with croup followed by a nasty run-in with strep followed by a nasty run-in with a mega snowstorm, so for a minute, I was worried we'd have to cancel our trip.

But the blessings poured, and everything went well, including the TWO eleven-hour drives with all of us crammed in a Mitsubishi Lancer with two strollers strapped to the roof.

Woot! Woot!

California 2013 
Hey, look! A space shuttle!

Too bad we could't drive that!

The end.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mothering and the Book of Mormon: Putting off the Natural Mom

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. 
Mosiah 3:19

When I read this scripture before I had Zoe, I couldn't help but think of the "natural man" in the form of a mother. LDS.org defines the "natural man" as, "a person who chooses to be influenced by the passions, desires, appetites, and senses of the flesh rather than by the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Such a person can comprehend physical things but not spiritual things."

I become the "natural mother":

  • When I am short-tempered with my kids
  • When I fail to listen to them when they are trying really hard to tell me something (or when I reject their point of view)
  • When I skip Family Home Evening or family prayer because I am distracted or "not in the mood"
  • When the look/cleanliness of my home becomes overly important
  • When I feel competitive with other women
  • When I feel like my ways are superior to the ways of others
  • When I judge or criticize others
  • When I am feeling rushed or in a hurry
(I could go on, but trust me, you don't have time to read the entire list).

Little did I know that I would have a nasty, long-term run-in with the natural mom as soon as I brought home a new baby. I don't know what happened, really, but being a mother of three has turned me into a basket case. I am constantly running around like a chicken with my head chopped off. I'm busy, I'm stressed, and I'm crazy. I can't start and complete a task, ever! The toast I made this morning is still sitting in the toaster, there are three large piles of garbage sitting by the back door waiting to go out, and the dishwasher is open and half-full (and that's not a metaphor for optimism) (need I mention that I'm going on two months of working on this very post?) It has been so easy, under these chaotic circumstances, to lose sight of spiritual things. I often get to the point where I might as well grab the Holy Ghost by the hand and personally escort him out of my home.

To overcome our natural tendencies, we need to be submissive, meek, humble, patient, and full of love, as King Benjamin taught. I don't feel like I have had very many of these attributes lately, but I think it is a great list of traits to strive for as a mom.

I took some time to ponder what these characteristics mean to me:

Submissive  
Obedient, willing to live the commandments and keep covenants, striving to be like the Savior

Meek 
Gentle, long-suffering, kind, compassionate

Humble  
Modest, teachable, willing to repent, willing to forgive, lacking pride

Patient  
Able to wait, steadfast despite opposition, bearing pains or trials without complaint

Full of love  
Consistent in showing great care, affectionate, devoted, unselfish, loyal

When I started this Book of Mormon project, I thought I was going to learn and grow by leaps and bounds. I thought my commitment to studying motherhood through the scriptures would guarantee my awesomeness as a mother of three, but you guys? I'm totally bombing. It makes me wonder how much worse I would be right now if I hadn't studied the Book of Mormon during my third trimester.

I have to get back on track. Consider this my pledge to put off the natural mother.

--------------------------------------

This post is part of my series, "Mothering and the Book of Mormon." To learn more about why I am writing this series, please read this. To learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, check out Mormon.org or LDS.org.

Did you know you can request a Book of Mormon for free? No joke! See here.

I'll even send you one if you want. Marginalia included.

You can e-mail me: 

{fluentbrittish [at] gmail [dot] com}

I won't even try to baptize you!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Do Tell - Three Things

Thing One

When I am pregnant, my personality is dramatically affected. Now that I've had my baby, and the crazy post-birth hormones are mostly gone, I'm turning back into my old self, and I love it. I'm so much happier. Everything is different, and I can't believe the changes. It's amazing that being pregnant has such a strong affect on me. So today I'm wondering how pregnancy has affected those of you who have had babies. Were you a different person during pregnancy? Or just a more tired version of yourself? Am I the only one who feels like I turn into someone else while I'm pregnant? Do tell!

Thing Two

Sometimes I worry that I've accidentally become part of a clique. This concerns me because I don't ever want to belong to a group of people that appears to not openly welcome others. I use the word "appears" because I think that people are often assumed to be unwelcoming when that is not the case. Sometimes there are other circumstances that contribute. For example, when I had Zoe, I sent out a bunch of text messages to people in my ward (church congregation). I realized, when I went back to delete the messages from my phone, that I only texted people who serve in the primary (the children's program of the Church). Mostly this is because those are the people I see all the time, and those are the people who specifically said, "Let me know when you have your baby!" Does this mean I'm in a primary clique? 'Cause that's not cool.

Additionally, if I hang out with other women during the day because I am a stay-at-home mom and they are, too, does that make us a clique? Simply because our circumstances allow us to spend time together? We may appear to be unwelcoming toward working mothers when really, we're not. We just have similar schedules.

I guess what I'm wondering is how do you differentiate between a group of friends and a group of friends with the negative connotations of a clique? What makes a clique? What makes you feel unaccepted by a group of people? Do tell!

Thing Three

I've never been a fan of push-ups. When I was in high school, my dance teacher made us do ten push-ups as part of our warm-up, and I don't think I ever actually did ten. I would just count to ten really loud while I did three. A few days after Christmas, on a whim, I decided to try doing some push-ups. I did three and just about died. I was kind of disappointed in myself for being such a weakling, so I've been doing push-ups almost every day since then. Today, for the first time EVER, I did twenty push-ups. I know that for many, that is a small feat, but I feel like a champion! It's amazing to me that my body has built up that much strength so quickly! I'm really proud of myself. What have you done since the New Year that you're proud of? Do tell!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Currently {January 2013 Edition}


Reading: Son by Lois Lowry. I started this one in the hospital while I was having Zoe, and I accidentally took it back to the library before I finished it. I had to get back on the hold list and wait for another copy.

Watching: Merlin. It's no Robin Hood, but it's okay.

Procrastinating: putting on make-up. Interesting side note: this weekend during a game of Balderdash, I became familiar with the term "farding," which means "applying cosmetics to the face." So I guess you could say I'm procrastinating farding. Perhaps I'll go to the bathroom and fard as soon as I'm done with this post. Or maybe I'll wait and fard in the car on my way to the store. Or I could always fard while I'm waiting for Nicky to get out of school. Maybe I'll fard a little now and finish farding later. There are so many options when it comes to farding!

Wanting: a third-row vehicle so I can separate my children. The other night, Daisy put a plastic bag in the baby's mouth and scratched her face until she bled. And guess what? It is not safe to drive with my right arm reached behind my seat to hold Daisy's hands in momcuffs.

Craving: fat. Have I told you that I have high cholesterol? Go me. So now I'm supposed to be on a low-fat diet for three months and have my cholesterol checked again. If it's not in the normal range by then, I've been advised to start medication. I'm only 29. I refuse to be on cholesterol medication! So now I'm craving fat because I haven't been eating a lot of it.

Wearing: too-tight jeans, leopard print flats, and a shirt I bought from the thrift store. I am not comfortable at all. Curse these 12 holiday pounds!!

Relieved by: the Christmas decorations being put away. By the time Christmas rolls around, I just want them GONE. Usually I take them down on the 26th (if not the evening of the 25th), but this year I had to wait a few extra days, and I nearly went crazy!

Stressing about: having sick kids. Nicky has an atypical case of croup right now. Usually the worst croup symptoms last 2-4 days. Nicky is on day 11 and just barely started improving. We've already canceled his birthday party TWICE, and he has seen three different doctors. The poor kid was sick on his birthday and for most of winter break, so he didn't get to do anything fun. I feel terrible for him! My worst fear is that Zoe will end up getting it. Hopefully, after being exposed to it for 11 days and not showing any symptoms, we are in the clear.

Missing: that special thrill that came with a new Harry potter book and/or movie release.

Addicted to: stretchy pants. They're just awesome!

Dreading: snow. I don't like sending my kid to school in it, I don't like driving in it, and I don't like shoveling it.

Needing: four hours a week to myself. I have been considering putting Daisy in a half-day of daycare once a week, but I just can't bring myself to pay for it.

Annoyed by: Daisy's bathroom habits. She always has wet underwear. ALWAYS!!! So she stinks. And everything she touches stinks. And I am forever washing and washing and washing. And the whole house STILL stinks. After two HORRIBLE experiences with potty training my kids, my new motto is DIAPERS RULE!!!

Feeling guilty about: spending a little too much money this month. I bought some stuff on clearance after Christmas, and we didn't really have the money for it. Now with all of the co-pays and prescriptions with Nicky being sick, I'm way behind on the budget. One of my New Year's resolutions was to be more budget-conscious. I'm pretty good at sticking to a budget anyway, but I want to be better, and I've already messed up! Oh well. I guess I need to forgive myself and start over.

Tired of: icy sidewalks. I've had way too many close calls, especially carrying an 18 pound car seat with a 12 pound baby in it. I don't know if that's really how much Zoe weighs, but she has to be close. She's HUGE!

Thankful for: being able to take ibuprofen again. I rarely need it, but when I'm pregnant and can't have it, I feel like my life is a mess.

Enjoying: Zoe smiles. She is in that phase where she can smile, but it's still a lot of work, so every time she smiles, I freak out because it's so beautiful!

Looking forward to: our upcoming family vacation. Betcha can't guess where we're going!

Hoping: that no one is sick when we go on said family vacation.

Loving: my church calling. I will probably be released in a few months when the president moves, and I am already sad. I hope somehow I can stay. I love being in the primary presidency!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Birthday Re-Cap

My birthday was on Tuesday, and if your educated in the ways of calendaring, you might deduce that I'm a New Year's baby.

(No, my parents didn't get any cool presents).

You're probably wondering how I spent my birthday, so I will tell you.

For the past eight or so years, I have spent New Year's Eve with my in-laws. We eat, play games, and whatever else we feel like.

When my in-laws asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I said I felt bad telling them what to get me because it made me feel demanding. My mother-in-law said I wasn't demanding, so I told her that, in that case, I wanted my gift wrapped in pink Dora paper with a purple bow, and I wanted my birthday card to have a sentimental message from my brother-in-law, Riley.

(The sentimental message is a recurring joke that probably only I remember. Last year, my niece hacked Riley's facebook account and wrote a lovely verse from him to her on her birthday. I then commented, "I can't wait for MY sentimental birthday wish from Riley!" And Riley? He doesn't do sentimental birthday wishes. So it's funny, you see?)

Even though I was only joking, I knew my mother-in-law would go through with it all because she's awesome like that. Sure enough, there was a present wrapped in pink Dora paper with a purple bow waiting for me when I arrived on New Year's Eve. I wondered about the birthday card, though. My mother-in-law is good, but not even she could extract a sentimental birthday wish for me from Riley.

She did her best, though, and I opened my card to find this:

Birthday Card

Brittany,

Do me favor, I couldn't think of anything to write, so please pretend that you're reading something really touching, maybe even wipe a tear, and then look at me and say, "That is so beautiful. I didn't know you could write like that." Then if anyone asks to see the card, refuse and tell them it's too personal. Thanks, I owe you one.

Happy Birthday!

Riley

Close enough.

After the midnight celebration of the new year, we celebrated my birthday for about 15 minutes and then everyone went home. This, too, is the usual tradition.

We are tired and old.

My mom was kind enough to watch Nicky and Daisy the afternoon of my birthday so Scotty and I could go out for a while. We went to Cafe Rio for a late lunch and then to Target to exchange some shoes. The shoes ended up being on clearance, so we were able to get some money back. They had tons of shoes on clearance so we bought eight pairs! It was such a rush! We then went to Kohls and bought Scotty some pants with my Kohls Cash. We reminisced about our past lives - when we could go to a place like Target or Kohls with no kids any day, any time. Running errands without kids is now considered an appropriate date or birthday outing. Things have sure changed!

It wasn't all errands though. We also went to see Les Miserables, which I have conflicting opinions about. We got to go for free because Scotty's work gave us a gift card, and we got free popcorn for my birthday via e-mail coupon! Yay! This is another thing that has changed in the past ten years - we used to be willing to pay money to go on dates.

Even though we've become cheap and lame, I was rather happy with my birthday. Now I'm off to accomplish something amazing before I turn 30. Not sure what that something is, but I'll let you know when I figure it out.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Summary of 2012

January
Spent New Year's in Island Park
Daisy pooped in the potty
Went to the Brad Paisley concert

February
Found out we were having a baby

March
Moved my blog from Wordpress
Nicky started with pertussis

April
Daisy and I started with pertussis
Replaced our garbage disposal
I served on the committee for the Stake Relief Society Meeting 
(didn't actually go to the meeting since I was sick)

May
Celebrated our 9 year anniversary
Planted our garden
Nicky started a new season of baseball
I was called to be in the primary presidency with a new president 
(I was already serving in there with the former president)
Nicky graduated from preschool 
(and told everyone he wants to be a chicken farmer when he grows up)

June
I had a double root canal
Daisy had her tonsils out
Scotty ran the Spartan Race

July
Scotty turned 31
Scotty got a staph infection
Daisy potty trained

August
Nicky started baseball again
Scotty started school at the university

September
Daisy decided not to be potty trained anymore
Nicky and Daisy took a tumbling class
Went to the Brigham City Temple Open House
Then the Brigham City Temple Dedication

October
I went to Time Out for Women in Logan
Nicky lost his first tooth
Had the Primary Sacrament Meeting program
Halloween - Nicky was a pirate, Daisy was a witch

November
Welcomed Zoe into our family
Had our first family photos taken
Our water heater went out
Spent Thanksgiving at my dad's house
Scotty's grandma passed away

December
Parties, parties, and more parties
Christmas was great
Nicky turned 6 (and had croup)
Spent New Year's Eve with the in-laws


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Year of the Identity Crisis

For most of my life, the placemats in Chinese food restaurants informed me that I was born during the Year of the Rat. As a child I was always kind of sad to be a rat because a lot of my friends were born during the previous year, which was the Year of the Boar. This sort of thing mattered to me when I was ten-years-old and celebrating Chinese New Year at school. If only I had been born two and a half hours earlier, I could have been a boar like my friends!

Darn my New Year's birthday!


Recently I was joking with a friend about the Chinese zodiac. I had just learned that she was born the same year I was, and I made a comment about being happy that she was a rat and not a boar.

My friend, to my surprise, had never heard of the Chinese zodiac, so I ended up having to explain to her why I was calling her a "rat like me!" This resulted in some official google research to refresh my memory, and to my utter shock, after twenty-eight years, I found out that I am NOT a rat.

Dude.

What the Chinese food placemats failed to point out was that I was born before the Chinese New Year began in February, meaning that I?

Don't even know who I am anymore!

So here's to 2013: my first year as an informed boar!




[Source]